"In between stimulus and response, there is a pause, and in that pause we have the opportunity to make a different choice."

~ Victor Frankl

Reading a blog post recently by my friend and colleague, Judy Warner, I was inspired.

Although I teach aikido techniques like the practice of centering both on and off the mat, her story helped me realize how much more often I could be practicing and improving. I am centering now as I write. I centered while taking a drink of water earlier today, and I look forward to finding more places to catch myself. What a great, fun, low-pressure approach to practice.

I am reminded of another centering practice that might seem counterintuitive at first but is one I've used over and over again to good effect.

Think of a difficult person in your life, someone whose presence causes you to become uncentered. With a small mental shift you can remake this person into a centering practice. The same procedure can apply to uncentering events.

Some years ago, a friend and I had a falling out, and every time I saw her I became uncentered, fearful, and awkward. I wanted to walk the other way. We were thrown together a lot, as it happens, and one day I decided to see how long I could remain centered in her presence. It was about five seconds before I had to re-center myself. The next time I saw her, I was able to remain centered longer. This process continued until I began to look forward to seeing her so that I could test myself. I had turned my difficult person into a centering practice.

She and I have become good friends again since that time, and we can laugh about this story (she knows). I have no doubt that this centering process played a part in helping that to happen.

What triggers your hot buttons? Change these people or events into centering triggers instead. Pause, center, and practice a different choice.

Author's Bio: 

Judy Ringer is the author of Unlikely Teachers: Finding the Hidden Gifts in Daily Conflict (www.unlikelyteachersbook.com) and the award-winning e-zine, Ki Moments, containing stories and practices on turning life's challenges into life teachers. Judy is a black belt in aikido and nationally known presenter, specializing in unique workshops on conflict, communication, and creating a positive work environment. She is the founder of Power & Presence Training and chief instructor of Portsmouth Aikido, Portsmouth, NH, USA. To sign up for more free tips and articles like these, visit www.JudyRinger.com